It all started as Malvern Agility Week
Dates: 17 -23 August 1992
Venue: Three Counties Showground, Malvern, Worcestershire
you ever wondered how and when the first Dogs in Need began...or were you there? Ian Stowers
was one of the organisers. His show report including glorious black and white photos is
reprinted here, as published in Agility Voice, followed by John Tallentire's judges summary and
course plans. Can you spot any familiar faces?
Was it the greatest show in the Agility world so far? The
Dogs in Need Agility Show Extravaganza was an amazing week of Agility and evening entertainment
unsurpassed in Agility to date. The new venture attracted nearly 6,000 class entries, covering
the 36 classes scheduled for the week, and the essential part of of the show's success was due
to the 240 people who volunteered their services during their stay at the show. Our grateful
thanks and appreciate goes out to all of you for your very valued contribution.
The Three Counties Showground, nestling at the foot of
the beautiful Malvern Hills was an idyllic setting for the show and many people took the
opportunity to look down on the showground from the magnificent heights during Thursday.
The camping was perfect with no limitations to numbers,
and yet there was plenty of space around each of the 270 units with clubs camping together if
requested. The toilets were very clean and plentiful, although
had a short walk to reach them. We heard of no complaints, but the showers could have been more
The first day and night
The week started on Monday, by being met at the
gate by a team of camping stewards who took each camper to its own precise position on the
showground. The camping stewards spent many hours and traveled miles on foot or by cycle on
Monday and lal went very well due to their very hard work. A short presentation was given in
the 40' z 120' marquee at 4pm where everybody could see the people involved in running the
A quiz, followed by a disco, was scheduled for the
opening night in the marquee. Our worst fear was that the 40' x120' marquee was going to be too
big, but there was no fear of this as, by the start of the quiz, it was full of people sitting
in groups eagerly waiting for the first question. The quiz went well and most people stayed on
to enjoy the bar and disco.
It was a great start to the week and the marquee proved
to be a very popular place to be every evening. With a bar provided every night and all the
evening entertainment absolutely free, not many people stayed in during the evenings.
The Karaoke evening on Tuesday was especially enjoyed by the audience and artists alike and,
with the 'fly wall' attraction just outside the marquee, the night was one to remember.
The baby doll and pajamas disco on Thursday raised a few
eyebrows and proved to be very popular and much talked about the next day.
Friday night was the turn of Mr. and Mrs. Quiz. Maybe a
doubtful choice but, with the 'victim' seated on stage under a floodlight and Mr. Rob Hunter
the inquisitor, we had another full house.
At this stage the majority of people had been having late
nights and early morning for nearly a week. Did they have anything left for the Final Saturday
night? You bet they did. The last night was the busiest, happiest, loudest and latest night of
the week. We had a great disc jockey for all the discos - certainly a man who knows his job.
Was there any Agility at this show?
Well, of course there was - we were there for our sport and all types of Agility people
were catered for. An Agility 'first' was a ring devoted entirely to Juniors and Mini dogs for
the whole week, and it was well used by those competitors who came under the scrutiny of some
very professional judging.
Due to the high entry figures, some rescheduling had to
be implemented which meant running six rings on Tuesday, but five rings were sufficient for the
rest of the week. Starters were well off for classes to enter, as indeed were Novice dogs. A
good quantity of Open classes kept Senior and Advanced dogs well occupied.
Another first for the show - the
Pedigree Chum 'Classic' Tournament.
This is a tournament consisting of three classes for four categories of handler and dog.
Junior, Mini, Novice and Senior would each compete in a Gamblers, Jumping and Agility class,
with points being accumulated over the three days, with those successful to take part in the
main ring in the centre of our showground don the Sunday morning. Points were hard earned, but
the best 120 dogs from all four tournaments fought it out on the final morning under the eyes
of Mr. John Tallentire, one of the country's most respected judges.
We were very fortunate to have our major sponsor,
Pedigree Chum, with us for a few days of the show. They came with a fully equipped trade stand
and every competing dog was given a box of the new recipe Pedigree Chum Formula complete food,
and Tom, the company's nutritionist, was kept busy giving free advice on all aspects of a dog's
dietary needs. Another 'first' at an Agility show!
Rosemary Rackham, from Pedigree Petfoods, kindly agreed to make the presentation to the
finalists on Sunday morning, with the winners of each class receiving magnificent glassware to
take pride of place in their homes.
We were very pleased to be the subject of a special
feature by Central and Southern Television with our show being televised twice on the the same
day. The first showing was a short introduction, but the later viewing lasted about five
minutes and showed dogs competing, followed by an interview with Gerry Eckersley,
committee member, and also some competitors.
The 'Dogs in Need' Agility Show Extravaganza was the
culmination of many months of care in planning the needs of running a show of this magnitude.
Our Show Secretary, Rosemary Stowers, had 5,879 class entries, 885 dogs, 597 pairs, 137
teams, 36 classes, 22 judges, 240 ring steward volunteers and 270 camping units each with its
own unique location to organise. A daunting task by anybody's standard and one which she
accomplished in a very professional manner.
telephones have been red hot and the computer on permanent overtime, but when Agility people
from Scotland to Jersey, Cornwall to Kent, the Isle of Wight to the Isle of Ely, respond in the
way they did , then all the hard work put in was well worthwhile.
Was it the Greatest
Agility Show so far?
We think so.
Pedigree Chum Classic Finals at
There were five
separate finals - Junior Under 12 and Over 12, Minis, Novice and Senior and, to qualify, dogs
had to compete in Agility, Jumping and Gamblers classes. Points were awarded for a first place
working down and the dogs which had accumulated the last number of points went into their
Under 12 - 7
Over 12 - 11
Mini - 22
Novice - 36
Senior - 29
There were large entries in all classes and anyone who
qualified had worked very hard to get there. I tried to set courses that included elements of
all three classes and settle on a table start leading into a jumping pattern, followed by
contacts with a free flowing jumping finish.
The Under 12s ran first
Sian Roberts with her Papillon had the
unenviable job of going first. She was unfortunately eliminated but full credit to her for
continuing with what was the only mini in the class. The other handlers all put in good
performances with Heledd Dafydd and Miffi coming out the eventual winners.
Over 12s came next
There was a good standard throughout. This was
partly due to some juniors running senior dogs which they hadn't trained. It was a pleasure to
see Debbie Alderson with her own Norton Special win this class.
I always enjoy judging the minis
This class was not exception. They seem to take
success and failure with the same spirit and genuinely encourage each other on. A special
mention must go to Ronnie McAleese from Northern Ireland who came seventh and showed
what sportsmanship is all about. There was a mixture of very good and not so good rounds, and
G. Phillips with Margrove Maelstrom were worthy winners.
Next came the Novice dogs
This was the largest class and the majority of dogs had the potential to win. Unfortunately the
rain came during the class and I felt particularly sorry for Yvonne Croxford running
last who had to retire because she couldn't see. I think it's called luck of the draw. Husband
and wife team Jane and Steve Baldwin put in two lovely rounds but ended up second and
third as young Bruce Currie showed them all the way home to take the trophy.
last competition of the day was the Senior Final
Some names didn't make it, and the talk was that Dave Backshaw was the
favourite. The course had some tricky areas, but once those were negotiated, the dogs were left
with a long jumping run for home which had some handlers gasping and swearing never to touch a
drink again! There were a lot of good rounds with the crowd cheering them home, and the lead
changed hands a few times until Dave Blackshaw steered Cassie round in a brilliant time to
snatch the trophy.
Article and photographs
reproduced from the Agility Voice (October 1992) with kind permission of John Gilbert.